Travel Contest, Week Two

(Ed. note: 5 more entries.  Once again, names have been removed to protect the entrant from future harassment, but for those of you who are wise, you may be able to figure the “owner” out. All italicized preambles are the words of the entrant, but all photo captions are mine. There is still one week to go, so get those entries in.)

Remember, you can’t win if you don’t play!

Enrty #10

Gerry and I were on a trip to Central America…some nice hotels, some backpacking, some hiking into jungles and some quiet time exploring ruins etc.
One embarrassing time was when we were the only ones on this Mayan ruin..a smaller one in Belize. The guide showed us the way to go up the back…a one foot wide stairway without an outside rope or railing. Would not pass safety guidelines anywere in the civilized world. …but up we went clinging to the wall. At the top there was an amazing view on a platform without a railing so we clung to the inside wall…and marvelled. You could see the tops of some temples bursting out of the jungle …some under excavation and the sounds of monkeys. Neat.

However…now we have to go down that outside, back, one foot wide stairway…

We both tried but could not overcome the panic and fear of falling off the edge and were stuck. Help? Who was there? No one!!! Cries for help finally got the attention of the guide down on the ground and he came up and we were able to get down partially on our butts! Embarrassing but we had to laugh as we imagined the story told to the guide’s family…about the white dudes who could not get off a small pyramid. Then there ws the one about Gerry having to climb back down from the inside of a pyramid on his hands and butt but that is another story. All for the sake of understanding ancient civilizations.

Entries 11 AND 12

1. Business travel: Returning from a great two week vacation in Hawaii I left my wife Debbi at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, her to return home to Virginia, me to carry on to Cadiz, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal on business.  Eleven time zones in all.  I was jet lagged, you can imagine, when I arrived in Munich (I think it was) to hook up with a colleague for the connecting flight to Cadiz.  Managed to leave my laptop at security.  Failed to respond to what later I seemed to recall as subliminal hails that came over the PA system from security personnel who had found my name on the computer and were trying hard to put me together with it.  Proceeded obliviously on to Cadiz where the missing laptop was discovered quite quickly, if too late.

Next day I got sick as a dog eating what I think was tainted mayonnaise at a customer provided luncheon.  Really, really sick for the rest of the trip.

Next day after that, flew to Lisbon, sick or no.  Spent an awful day there avoiding food, being useless at a prospective customer meeting, and trying to find some sort of over-the-counter stomach relief.  In a pharmacy I was offered an 8 Euro bottle of Tums.  A big sigh for language barriers.  Remembered that Debbi likes port, so bought a nice bottle, maybe 20 Euros, to bring home to her.

Next day at the airport, in my nauseous daze, I had my gift of port snugly in my carry on as I went through security.  Whereupon the nice security may reminded me of the three ounce limit on liquids and gels, all to be stored in a 1 quart zip lock baggy.  The port got left behind.

Later the same day my colleague and I arrive at Dulles Airport in the middle of one of those northeaster snow storms.  Connecting flight and all potential alternates cancelled.  Decided to rent a car and made my colleague drive the four hours or so through the snow in the middle of the night.  Finally home with absolutely no vacation afterglow left.

Probably more than 200 words, but I had to get it off my chest. (Ed. note: No penalty called)

2. Vacation travel:  Took family east from Vancouver to Toronto to spend some time with sister in-law and her family at the lake.  To save money, we only purchased three seats, as our son Jeremiah was only two, and we figured he could sleep on parent laps if necessary.  On the way out there were so many empty seats we had a whole center row of a 747 for the four of us.  Jeremy, slept the entire flight stretched across several seats.  Three weeks later, nicely relaxed and ready for work, we found ourselves on the Friday, 4:00 PM DC-9 that  was completely packed with weary business travellers returning home.  Us with only three seats.  Needless to say, Jeremiah stood on his feet on first my lap, then Debbi’s, and screamed and fussed the entire 5 hour flight home.  He never knew how close he came to being victim of in-flight homicide.  Vacation over.  Sigh.

Notes for the file:  The kid still lives and can still irritate his dad.  The computer was recovered unharmed thanks to some nice people who also worked for Tyco (my employer then) over there.  I made it to bed that fateful night and recovered a day or two later…weekend, of course.  When else does a working person get sick?

Entries 13 AND 14

I was travelling home alone after a trip to Europe and when I was waiting at the baggage carousel in Vancouver to collect my luggage I noticed a suitcase go by which was completely encapsulated in what appeared to be heavy duty saran wrap. I thought to myself, hmmm  now there’s someone who is a bit anal about their luggage getting damaged.  Several minutes went by with no sign of my suitcase arriving.  I did however then notice that there were some pairs of ladies panties, a bra and some socks loose on the carousel and also what looked like a card of some sort.  Perhaps a birthday card or some such thing I again thought.  I thought, oh dear, poor unfortunate person that has to step forward and claim those.

More time elapsed as the assembly of ladies undergarments went unclaimed.  Hmmmm.  I moved closer.  OMG, imagine the horror when the card went by again and I recognised my Mother’s handwriting on the card.  It was a birthday card that she was sending back for one of the kids birthdays.  Oh dear Jesus, did that mean that the other accoutrements were also mine? Yes, indeed they were.  Did the embarrased female step forward and claim her items?   Yes, she did but only when the carousel had stopped, the other passengers had left and one of the baggage handlers lifted the “anal” piece of baggage from the carousel.  It was wrapped because the zip had broken. Enough said.

Another story, this time at Thanksgiving weekend Monday in Belleville Ontario.  October 1980. We were coming back from a long weekend at Lake Placid and as we were very new to Canada and living in Ontario we weren’t really up to par on the total significance of Thanksgiving.  We arrived in Belleville on our way back to Toronto and were really tired so decided that would do us for the night as we really needed to eat, drink and sleep (and not necessarily in that order). Well, guess what?  All the restaurants (I use the term loosely) were closed and there was only one “hotel” in town.  We decided we would have to bite the bullet.

We checked in and were met by a very nice  lady who gave us our key and told us the restaurant in the hotel would be serving dinner for another hour.  We quickly made haste for our room.  Once in the room I asked my beloved did the hotel remind him of anywhere else.  Yes, indeed it did but he had been afraid to broach the subject with me.  It looked like the hotel from The Shining. Ok, enough said.  We would go and eat and retire to bed and then hit the road early in the morning.  Good plan.

We showered and stepped out into the corridor a half an hour later and we had to step over someone asleep in the hallway.  He seemed to be breathing so when we reached the front desk I reported the person and was told oh yeah, that’s so and so he just didn’t make it into his room, was harmless and not to worry!!! Fair enough.  We were too tired to worry and they could deal with it.  We went to the restaurant and the same lady that checked us in came and was our waitress for the night. Alrighty then.  It is Thanksgiving after all and staff are probably multitasking.  Had a nice meal and decided to have a nightcap before retiring.  In we go to the bar and lo and behold the same lady comes to take our drinks order. We are now helpless with the laughter. We are finishing up our drink and the next moment, music starts and guess what?  Well it’s going to be a stiptease seemingly.  I said to my beloved, if that lady appears again as the stripper you will have to carry me out of here with the laughter.  Enough said.  I was right.  We retired for the night. In hindsight we often wondered what her interview process was like.  “Can you multitask?  “Yes”.  Little did she know!.  Belleville you are indelibly imprinted in our minds.

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